Once of the hardest decisions most building owners make when deciding on a flat roofing system is whether to install a TPO roof or an EPDM roof. The decision is difficult because both are excellent flat roofing products that are similarly priced and have unique attributes. What the “better roof system” is depends largely on your building and how it is used.

A TPO Versus EPDM comparison chart is below. For more information on each product, check out our TPO roofing system page and our EPDM roofing system page.

TPO Versus EPDM
TPO EPDM  Advantage
Years Used as Roofing Product Over 30 Years Over 40 Years EPDM
Base Product Polyolefins (Polypropylene,Polyethylene) / Plastics Synthetic Rubber Neutral
Color White, Gray, Tan + Pallet of colors if over 100,000 Square Feet Black TPO
Temperature Impact on Roof Cools Roof Heats roof TPO if lots of rooftop units. EPDM if minimal rooftop units. *EPDM melts small amounts of snow if black EPDM is exposed. Once roof is completely snow covered, doesn’t help at all.)
Seaming technology Heat Welded After 1980, 3” or 6” Seam Tape.Before 1980, liquid adhesives TPO
Thicknesses .045 to .080 .045 to .090 Neutral
Reinforced Always Reinforced Reinforced or Non-Reinforced Neutral
Puncture Resistance Good to excellent, depending on thickness Good to excellent, depending on thickness Neutral
Chemical Resistance Good Poor TPO
Environmental Impact Excellent Moderate TPO
Slippery With Moisture Yes Yes – Moderate EPDM
Known Problems Effective welding requires experience. Seams come apart over time.Grease and other chemicals deteriorate product.Creates hot environments for rooftop equipment. Depends on building!

 

Keep in mind that the roof temperature at or near the roof mounted HVAC equipment can be critical to the units demand and operating costs.